Which Apple Watch Is Best Right Now?

Which Apple Watch Is Best Right Now?
Written by Techbot

We here in the Gadget Lab (and millions of people around the world) agree: If you have an iPhone, the Apple Watch is the best wearable to go with it. But which version should you buy? Apple is expected to announce the Series 8 next week along with a new Pro watch. And the company is still selling the Series 7 and the SE, as well as the aging Series 3 for now. But the much-loved Series 5 and 6 have gotten the boot (though you may still find them on sale). All these watches look pretty similar and share a rotating stable of features. Here, we break down which one is best for you, and whether older models are worth the price.

Be sure to check out our other buying guides, like our Best iPad, Best Smartwatch, and Best iPhone roundups.

Updated September 2022: We removed the Series 3 and added information on possible upcoming watches. 

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  • Apple Watch Series 7 on light green backdrop

    Photograph: Neil Godwin/Getty Images

    Wait for the Apple Event

    Should You Buy?

    There is no reason to buy an Apple Watch right now. Next week, we expect Apple to debut one of its most exciting Watch launches in years. According to MacRumors, a Pro series watch may have a much larger case, a larger flat-edged display to show all your new WatchOS 9 fitness metrics, and much improved battery life. In addition to the Pro watch, the upcoming Series 8 will also have an updated display, a new S8 chip (but with no expected boost in performance), a new Low Power mode to let you run certain features while prolonging battery life, and a new body temperature sensor. The new SE will have the new S8 chip as well.

    When all of these are announced, Apple’s Watch lineup will likely be rejiggered considerably. The new SE will probably replace the current SE at $279. The Series 8 will replace the Series 7 at $399, and the Pro will take the high end at a possibly obscene $800 or $900. Whether you want a new, rugged high-end Apple Watch or an older Series 7 that still works perfectly fine, you’d be wise to wait just a few more days. 

  • Photograph: Apple

    Best for Most People

    Apple Watch SE

    When the Apple Watch SE debuted in conjunction with the Series 6, its mere existence irritated me. Rather than continue to sell the capable Series 5 at a lower price, Apple removed several of the most popular Apple Watch features for the SE, like the always-on display and electrocardiogram (ECG) readings. 

    That move makes more sense now. Apple watchers believe the company is slowly rearranging its watch lineup and is positioning the SE as its entry-level option, taking the place of the Series 3. It has an upgraded Retina display, a faster processor than in either the Series 3 or 5, a fall detector, more memory, and a louder speaker. We saw it go on sale earlier this year for as little as $220, and that price may come down even more if a new SE debuts this fall. 

    If you’re shopping for a watch to give to a child or an elderly family member, this is also the most affordable model that works with Family Setup.

  • Photograph: Apple

    The Best Apple Watch

    Apple Watch Series 7

    People tend to hold on to their Apple Watches for a while, so with that in mind, you may want to wait for the Series 8 (or even the Pro). However, the Series 7 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is still probably one of the best sports watches on the market. It’s more water- and dust-resistant than any previous Apple Watch, and its updated algorithms include better fall detection and more accurate calculation of ebiking fitness metrics. As of July 2022, you can use new fitness-focused features in WatchOS 9, like customizable running workouts, zone training, and the ability to measure your vertical oscillation while running. All of these are features previously available only on high-end performance watches with the purchase of additional sensors.

    The Series 7 also has an updated display (and new, more-fun colors). You get 20 percent more screen area and a full-size keyboard, which means that texts are easier to read and write. It also has faster charging than previous watch models, which is important for a watch that you have to charge every day. It is also the only one among Apple’s current watch lineup to include the ultra-wideband chip, which is helpful if you use your watch to find your AirTags (or, you know, you might rather not). Maybe this wasn’t the dramatic redesign the rumors had us expecting, but Apple has never made a clunker watch.

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